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Problems configuring wireless NIC and docking station NIC

I work for a K-12 school board. We recently had issues with our Dell laptops with built-in wireless cards and docking stations with built-in NICs. Typically, the hard NIC takes precedence when connected via a dock. However, now the wireless NIC and the docking station NIC are connecting at the same time. This is causing the laptop to have intermittent issues when the wireless NIC drops the connection and the wireless card (even when docked) seems to be taking over and will not disable. A manual disable does not work either. The laptops are running XP Pro pulling DHCP. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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The simplest solution is to create a separate hardware profile for your docked and undocked configurations. Just right click the My Computer icon, choose Properties and then click on the Hardware Tab. At the bottom of the window, select Hardware Profiles and name the default profile undocked and create a second profile named "docked," or whatever makes sense in your organization. Then go into the Device Manager, (or Network Neighborhood properties) for each profile and disable the NIC you do not want to run in that profile. When the laptop boots, you users will simply select the hardware profile they wish to run (based on their docked status), and your problem should be resolved.

This was first published in March 2005

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